The capacity of our Milldam House ceremony room is 45 guests. This includes the guests, bridesmaids, best person etc, but does not include the couple or one photographer.

Milldam House has good step-free access at the front of the building and there is a lift for customers to use to reach the first-floor ceremony room. Read more information about the lift size and doorway measurements.

We are continuing to prioritise ceremonies booked to take place within the next three to four months. If your ceremony is taking place later than this please email us at rather than call the office.

Civil marriage ceremonies and civil partnership registrations are a legal alternative to church ceremonies.

Portsmouth register office is responsible for the legal aspect of all marriages and civil partnerships in Portsmouth. It’s also a licensed venue for the ceremonies themselves.

Check a list of approved wedding and civil ceremony venues in Portsmouth.

You can contact us if you have any questions, if you would like to view our ceremony rooms or to make a provisional booking.

You can email us or call 023 9282 9041.

You can also write to, or visit us at:

Milldam House
Burnaby Road

Our opening hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 4.30pm.

For emergencies outside normal office hours on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays, please phone 023 9282 2251. This includes help arranging a marriage involving someone who is terminally ill.

Please note: we can only assist with events taking place within the City of Portsmouth (PO1-PO6). For events taking place elsewhere please contact the Register Office for that district.

Notice of marriage or civil partnership

Once you decide to marry – in a religious service or a civil ceremony – or register as civil partners – you must by law make your intentions public in the district, or districts, where you both live.

Those getting married in a church ‘call the banns’. Those opting for a civil marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration must make an appointment with the local registrar to give ‘notice of marriage’ or ‘notice of civil partnership’. This is an official record of permission for the marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration to take place. Notices are legal preliminaries to marriage or civil partnership which must be given in person by both parties. A friend or relative cannot do this.

The registrar then posts a notice publicly for 28 days.

This legal requirement gives time for anyone to dispute the validity of the proposed union. After 28 days a civil marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration can take place.

If either of you are subject to immigration control and referred to The Home Office, the 28 day waiting period might become 70 days if The Home Office need more time to investigate.

When you book your marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration date the registrar will advise you when and where you should give your notices. Notice of Marriage is strictly by appointment only and for time critical notices only – for example if you have a provisional booking for a ceremony due to take place within the next three to four months.

Please telephone our ceremonies office on 023 9282 9041. We will arrange an appointment for you and confirm which documents you are required to bring with you.

The Notice of Marriage and Civil Partnership procedure is a face to face interview with a registrar and you will be required to attend the register office in person.

We only require the person/s giving notice to attend and you must not bring other family members with you. If you or any member of your household is self-isolating or has any recent symptoms of Covid-19 please do not attend and contact us to rearrange your appointment.

You must both have lived continuously in any one district of England or Wales for seven days immediately before the date you give notice. If you both live in the same the date you give notice. If you both live in the same district, if possible you should attend together to give your notices of marriage or civil partnership. It does not matter if either of you move to a different address after the notice has been given.

The notice is valid for 12 months, but is not proof of a marriage or civil partnership.

The cost of giving notice is £35.00 per person, or £47.00 per person if you are subject to immigration control and referred to The Home Office.

Documents needed for a notice of marriage or civil partnership

When you give your notice of marriage or civil partnership, there are certain documents that you need to show:

  • a valid passport – to verify your name, your date and place of birth and your nationality. if you do not have a passport we will need your UK birth certificate. If you were born after 1 January 1983, we will need your full UK birth certificate and your mother’s UK birth certificate.
  • deed poll documents, change of name deed or statutory declaration – to show any changes to your name declaration
  • proof of your current address – to verify that you are living in the registration district
  • Proof of address must be one of the following documents – your notice cannot be taken without one of these

    • Council Tax Bill – dated no earlier than 1 year before the date you give notice
    • Driving Licence – valid dates and current address
    • Utility Bill (gas, electric, water, landline, cable, broadband NOT a mobile phone bill) – dated no earlier than 3 months before the date you give notice (please ensure that at least your first and last name/s appear on the bill.
    • Bank or Building Society Statement or Passbook – dated no earlier than 1 month before the date you give notice
    • Mortgage Statement – dated no earlier than 1 year before the date you give notice
    • Current Residential Tenancy Agreement – current dates
  • decree absolute if either of you has been divorced, or civil partnership dissolution document. If this was not issued in the UK we’ll need to see the original divorce document or dissolution document, along with a full translation of the document. A non-refundable fee of up to £75 is payable per document at the time of your notice appointment,  or the consideration of any divorce or civil partnership dissolution granted outside the British Isles. In some cases, it is necessary for a foreign divorce document to be sent to the registrar general for verification.
  • death certificate – if either of you has been widowed or are a surviving civil partner. In some cases, you may also need to produce a marriage or civil partnership certificate for your previous marriage or civil partnership.

Your marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration cannot go ahead unless the legal formalities have been completed..

There is more information on about the documents for a notice of marriage or civic partnership appointment. If either you or your partner are from outside the European Union, please phone the register office before arranging any appointments. This is because there may be different procedures and documents involved.

Booking your civil marriage ceremony

You will need to book both:

The fees charged are for the registrars to attend and officiate at your ceremony. If you book a ceremony at an approved venue, the venue will advise of their fees separately. There is no fee for the venue if you book a ceremony at Milldam House or the Register Office room.

There is no legal ceremony for a civil partnership. Signing the schedule makes a civil partnership official. Both partners and the two witnesses must sign the schedule. If you want to add an extra ceremony to mark the event you will need to do it separately. This can either be held at Milldam House or at an approved venue such as a hotel.

Please visit our Citizenship, renewal of vows, naming and civil partnership ceremonies page for further information.

Registrar fees

A civil marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration must be overseen by a registrar to ensure legal requirements are met. In Portsmouth you can book a registrar up to two years in advance. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, such as the couple being overseas, friends and family can’t make this booking.

A non-refundable booking fee of £75 is payable when you book to hold a date and time for your ceremony.

Anyone, who wants to register a marriage or civil partnership in England and Wales will have to give a notice in their district of residence. A notice period of 28 clear days must pass before a ceremony / registration can take place.

Notice of Marriage or Civil Partnership fee is £35 per person. There is an extra fee of £15 per person for Notice of Marriage or Civil Partnership appointments on a Saturday. This fee is an additional administration fee on top of the statutory fee of £35.00 per person. Saturday appointments have very limited availability and are usually only offered in the quieter Winter months, subject to availability. The Notice of Marriage or Civil Partnership fee is non-refundable.

Civil Partnership registration costs £46.00

Ceremony fees

Ceremony fees do not include a marriage certificate. You will not be able to obtain a marriage certificate on the day of your marriage – marriage certificates can be obtained from the register office in the area where your marriage took place within 7 days of your ceremony.

If you marry in a church, your signed Marriage Document or Marriage Schedule must be submitted to the register office in the area where your marriage took place before you can apply for a marriage certificate.

This document will be issued to you by your church following your ceremony or they will arrange to submit it directly to us – please discuss which arrangement applies with your church.

Milldam House room fees

Day of the weekPrice (1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024)
Monday to Thursday£310

Our Milldam House ceremony room is available between 10am – 3.30pm Monday to Friday and from 10am – 3pm on Saturdays.

Couples can enter the ceremony room together or one partner can be escorted in to the room. Music can be played for the entrance of the couple/one partner and during the signing of the marriage schedule.

Approved venues in Portsmouth

For a ceremony at an approved venue, you will need to check availability with both the venue and the registrars. These fees listed on the following table are for the registrars to attend at the venue and officiate at your ceremony. The venue will advise of their fees separately.

1 April 2023 – 31 March 2024

Ceremony start timeMonday to ThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday or Bank Holiday
9.30am - 5.15pm£500£530£595£695
5.30pm - 7pm£600£630£695£895
7.30pm - 9.30pm£800£830£895£995

Portsmouth Register Office – statutory ceremony room

Please note that this room is fully-booked for the next six months. We still have some availability for marriage ceremonies in our Milldam House room.

Our statutory marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration room allows 2 guests only (these will be your witnesses, so must both be over the age of 18)

Monday – not available
Tuesday to Thursday – £46
Friday to Sunday – not available
Bank Holidays – not available

Statutory marriage ceremonies or civil partnership registrations are available at 9.30am on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Ceremonies or registrations take place in a working office, not a ceremony room.

You may hear noise from the reception area. Music and personal vows or readings are not allowed. You must bring two witnesses to your ceremony or registration. They must be over the age of 18 and be able to speak and understand English.

Refund policy

Should you need to cancel a ceremony please contact us as soon as possible. Provisional booking fee and notice fees are non-refundable.

  • 12 weeks or more of written notice of cancellation – full refund of the ceremony fee
  • Less than 12 weeks but more than four weeks of written notice – 50% refund of the ceremony fee
  • Less than four weeks notice or failure to cancel – No refund

What happens at a civil ceremony?

A civil marriage ceremony is simple. You will make two statements; we will ask you to choose one from the declaratory words and one from the contracting words which we will guide you through:

Declaratory Words:

  1.  “I do solemnly declare that I know not of any lawful impediment why I………….may not be joined in matrimony to…………….” OR
  2.  “I declare that I know of no legal reason why I……may not be joined in marriage to ……..” OR
  3.  By replying “I am” to the question “Are you……free lawfully to marry……?”

Contracting Words:

  1. “I call upon these persons here present to witness that I……do take thee….to be my lawful wedded wife/husband” OR
  2. “I ….. take you… be my wedded wife/husband” OR
  3. “I ….. take thee… be my wedded wife/husband”

You will then sign the schedule along with your two witnesses. Marriage certificates can be ordered online the next working day.

Exchanging Rings

The couple can choose to exchange one or two rings – this is optional.

If you want to make your ceremony more personal you can discuss this with the registrar. At a Milldam House ceremony, you can include either longer personal vows or one short reading. At an approved venue ceremony, you can add longer personal vows and some readings if you wish. In all cases, no religious content is allowed. The readings and personal vows must be appropriate. They must be approved by the Superintendent Registrar two weeks before the ceremony.

Tell us how you’d like your marriage ceremony to take place

Once you have your booking and have given your notice of marriage, submit our online form to let us know how many guests will be attending the ceremony, the names of your witnesses and details such as how you’d like to make your entrance, what music you’d like to play and whether you’d like to make personal vows. The form must be completed at least two weeks before the ceremony.


Marriage and civil partnership certificates can be obtained from the register office in the area where your marriage or civil partnership took place within 7 days of your ceremony/signing.

If you marry in a church, the minister must submit your signed Marriage Document/ Schedule within 21 days to the register office in the district where your marriage took place.

Once we have received this document we will enter the information on to the electronic marriage register within 7 days. You can then apply online for a copy of your certificate.

How does a civil partnership change legal status?

Civil Partnerships are an alternative for couples who may feel that marriage is not right for them. If you’re not sure which option is right for you, you can check the national government website for more information

Couples who form a civil partnership have a new legal status, that of ‘civil partner’. This makes your relationship legally official. Some of the benefits that civil partnership registration gives you as a couple include:

  • access to benefits, such as social security and state pension
  • the right to benefit from a deceased partner’s pension
  • recognition under inheritance rules
  • ability to succeed to tenancy rights
  • next-of-kin visiting rights in hospital
  • ability to gain parental responsibility for each other’s children
  • right to register the death of a partner
  • employment benefits
  • recognition under intestacy rules

Citizens Advice and  Stonewall both expand on the legal benefits of civil partnership status.